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Tags: north carolina | congress | redistricting | wiley nickel

NC Rep. Nickel Won't Seek Reelection Due to Remapping

Thursday, 14 December 2023 01:10 PM EST

Democratic U.S. Rep. Wiley Nickel said Thursday he won't seek reelection to Congress next year, the result of congressional redistricting by Republican state legislators this fall that's likely to shift North Carolina's delegation to the right. And he said he'll consider a U.S. Senate bid for an election that would be nearly three years away.

The decision by the first-term congressman on the day before candidate filing ends for the March primary means three incumbent House Democrats from North Carolina won't run in 2024. Each of them blamed the reconfigured lines by GOP lawmakers — now the subject of litigation — that they say make it futile for them to run.

Democratic Reps. Jeff Jackson of Charlotte and Kathy Manning of Greensboro had already said they wouldn’t seek reelection. Nickel's decision should benefit national Republicans in their efforts to retain a U.S. House majority in 2025.

“Republicans have rigged the system to favor themselves and I don’t have a path to run for reelection in the 13th district. But I’m not giving up and neither should you,” Nickel said in a news release provided by his campaign committee and geared to supporters. He planned a formal public announcement for later Thursday.

The release said Nickel, a lawyer and state senator from Cary before his 2022 victory, would work next year to help get Democrats elected up and down the ballot, “fight to end partisan gerrymandering, and explore a path forward in the U.S. Senate.” The next time a Senate seat is scheduled for North Carolina ballots is 2026. GOP Sen. Thom Tillis currently holds that seat.

In a text, Nickel said that while he is looking at a Senate bid, he is also planning to file paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to shift his House campaign committee to a Senate committee. Nickel, 48, said he expected to tour the state in 2024 to talk about gerrymandering.

The 2022 elections for the state's 14 congressional seats were conducted under a map drawn by state judges that resulted in Democrats and Republicans winning seven seats each. One of the seven belongs to Nickel, who narrowly won in the competitive Raleigh-area 13th District.

But the Republican-dominated General Assembly, emboldened by a state Supreme Court ruling that tossed out previous partisan gerrymandering claims, enacted a map that made it likely the GOP would win at least 10 of the 14 seats, according to election data.

The recalibrated 13th Congressional District is now considered a strongly leaning Republican district, while two other districts adjoining the 13th are heavily Democratic. Democratic incumbents Deborah Ross and Valerie Foushee are seeking reelection for those seats.

At least 10 Republicans have filed as candidates for the new 13th District, which, while still including parts of Raleigh, wraps around Wake County and stretches north to the Virginia border and south into several rural counties.

Jackson, the 14th District incumbent, is running instead for state attorney general. Manning, who currently represents the 6th District, said last week she would change her mind and run again for Congress should litigation alleging the retooled 6th District is an illegal racial gerrymander be successful.

Nickel has been particularly vocal about the congressional map, declaring that litigation was needed to strike it down.

More than 20 Black and Latino voters sued over the 6th and three other congressional districts earlier this month, but it appears unlikely that any resolution of the lawsuit will occur in time to delay the congressional primary elections. Absentee ballots for the primary will be mailed to requesters starting Jan. 19.

Republicans backing U.S. House candidates were pleased with Nickel's departure.

“Wiley Nickel just gave Republicans an early Christmas gift with another pickup in the battle for the House majority," Delanie Bomar, a spokeswoman for the National Republican Congressional Committee, said in a news release.

Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.


Politics
Democratic U.S. Rep. Wiley Nickel said Thursday he won't seek reelection to Congress next year, the result of congressional redistricting by Republican state legislators this fall that's likely to shift North Carolina's delegation to the right. And he said he'll consider a...
north carolina, congress, redistricting, wiley nickel
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2023-10-14
Thursday, 14 December 2023 01:10 PM
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